Colombia is a diverse group of growing regions spread from North to South along the three "cordilleras," the mountain ranges that are the Northern extensions of the Andes. Colombian coffees can be outstanding. Most coffee, especially from the Southern growing areas of Huila, Cauca, Narino and Tolima, comes from small family farms, and when the picking and processing are done well they can be exceptional: Silky body, cane sugar sweetness, floral hints and traces of tropical fruits are found in the best Colombia coffees.
We are winding through the remainder of our Colombian lots for the season. We've had a great year, and these last small holder lots from Huila are a testament to that. Humberto Calderon farms just 2 hectares in the Salado Blanco region of Huila. His farm is perched high above the town of Los Pinos at 1850 masl and is planted with a mix of Caturra and Castillo varietals. This lot is predominantly Caturra. Humberto picks his own cherry himself and with his family. His process is manual using a hand crank depulping device to remove the coffee beans from their cherry skins. After approximately 18 hours of fermentation in tiled tanks the beans are washed in the same tanks before drying on raised parabolic beds.
Humberto Calderon is a balanced coffee; mild with subtle yet crisp acidity, good sweetness, and excellent mouthfeel. Toasted sugar, toasted almond, and sweet pastry dough lace the aromatics of the dry fragrance. The crust has a succulent sweetness like huckleberry pie, and juicy stone fruits. Raisin and dark fruit notes appear in the break along with a sweet butterscotch note. Refreshingly crisp red apple leaps out of the cup profile of the city roast when warm, quickly transforming into chocolate syrup that lingers through the aftertaste. As this coffee cools pie crust notes and raw honey appear, making this balanced coffee relatively complex. A more developed roast shows darker fruits like raisin and black cherry. The mouthfeel is reminiscent of stout, and undeniably heavy. The profile of Humberto Calderon is in now way "extreme", but rather, for folks who are fans of subtlety. And with a little patience this coffees really shows its beauty as it gets to cooler temperatures. Overall, Humberto Calderon is a delicate and delicious cup of coffee, that will also make quite a nice shot of single origin espresso as well.
Here we have yet another microlot offering from the Huila region of Colombia. Much of this year's Colombian coffees have come from this Department located around the volcano region in the southwestern part of the country. The elevation in combination with nutrient rich soil makes for prime coffee growing conditions. This particular lot comes from a small producer farm operated by Alipio Zuniga. The farm is a mere 4 hectares and this 9 bag lot represents his final harvest for the season. Processing is "traditional" in that a manual depulper is utilized to remove the coffee cherry, and then fermentation and washing is handled in the same tank. Finally, it's laid out to dry on parabolic beds. These are our final lots of Colombia coffees for the season, and we're already starting to look forward to harvest later in the year.
The dry grounds have a honey scent to them, that is accented by clove, black walnut and Medjool dates. If you've been following the Colombian coffees we've been listing, you'll know that the sweetness is expounded upon when adding hot water. Vanilla caramels and a culmination of light brown sugar and butter come up off the wet crust. Slightly darker roasts bring about a floral aspect along with toasted sugar and plum. This coffee is so sweet at both lighter and darker roasts. The cup is juicy, with a "craisin" (dried, sweetened cranberries) tartness, as well as green apple, honey, and a note of raw pine nut. The cooling cup brings about the flavor of stewed fruits - so sweet, like the juice from canned peaches. Dark roasts bolster the juiciness of this coffee and bring on characteristics of complex sugar browning. The finish is like fine cocoa powder, with a slightly drying aspect, but not an unpleasant one. Roasting this coffee to Full City, or maybe even to the front edge of Full City+, would make a really nice SO espresso.
"White Water" is a great name for this coffee from "Agua Blanca". So lively and with a refreshing element that is unique to this blend. This village within Pedregal is inhabited by about as many people as bags of coffee represented by this lot (a whopping 42!), and quite a few of them are named "Penna". This is a name that has become synonymous with great coffee. Walter, Miguel Angel, Juvenal, and several others, more often than not produce the top scoring lots that come through our cupping lab. We'll often set aside one from each to offer as a single producer microlot. The other top lots they send wind up being bulked together with other great coffees submitted from neighboring farms in the area in order to provide a wider audience with one, really nice coffee from Agua Blanca. Altitudes for these farms ranges from 1700 - 2100 masl and are comprised of mainly Caturra, with a little Bourbon and Typica mixed in. These farmers do all the picking and processing of their coffee themselves, which definitely lends to their ability to manage quality control of the green coffee leaving their farms. They manually depulp their fruit on hand-crank machines, ferment in tiled tanks, wash thoroughly, and then dry their coffee gently on covered, raised beds. While this is part of our final shipment of Pedregal coffees for the season, we expect to once again have this coffee back in stock with some regularity starting late Spring.
Agua Blanca is equipped with brilliant aromatics, well rounded mouthfeel, heavy sweetness, and elegant acidity. The dry grounds of light roasts are perfumed with dried apricot, cane sugar, and honey. Our Full City roast shows a hint of marshmallow as well as a dark cacao. This coffee has a layered sweetness from start to finish. This is expressed in the wet grounds as light caramel, butterscotch, and simple syrup. There's also a note of raw almond that verges on marzipan. The flavors of Agua Blanca are deep, and well engrained in the cup profile across the roast spectrum. Our City+ roast has a nice fruited profile that is juicy, with asian pear, passion fruit, and a hint of guava. There's apple as well that vacillates between the tart aspects of green apples and the up-front sweetness of red - like what you find in a Honey Crisp apple. This is a coffee that really opens up as it cools. The fruits transform from tropical, to green grape, to citrus, to...the list grows and becomes more complex the longer you have this coffee in your mouth. Roasting into the realm of Full City brings about a citrus quality that is zest in flavor and pulpy in mouthfeel. It's equal parts kumquat and fresh squeezed orange juice. At City/City+ roast levels, this coffee is an excellent drinking coffee, but the complex profile stands up to both light and darker roasts (but we'd stay away from second crack). The dark roasts make an amazing single origin espresso, and a wonderful blending component.
Misael Hurtado's farm is located in the Municipality of Agua Blanca. We've had several coffees from this area which have been characteristically lively in cup quality, and this lot is no exception. There are only a few dozen folks in Agua Blanca, and most are farming coffee (and the majority of them are named "Penna", which you may recall from our previous offers this year). These folks are more than adept at picking the ripest coffee cherry, making sure that the least amount of over and under ripes make it into day lot separation. Not only does this result in a higher yield of what we call "1st quality" coffee (which they are paid the highest for), but this also makes the final stages of dry milling much simpler. They manually depulp their fruit on hand-crank machines, ferment in tiled tanks, wash thoroughly in a second tiled tank and dry their coffee gently on covered, raised beds. It's a simple process, but one that results in some of the highest quality coffees that make it onto our cupping table.
This lot has a balance that we've come to look for in coffees from Pedregal - deep sugared sweetness, clear acidity, and with just the right amount of fruit complexity. The dry grounds smell of toasted sugar, and with a fruited note of Turkish apricot - the bright orange dried apricots that have a sort of fresh fruit juice smell to them. Developed roasts have more of a honeyed smell, along with a touch of toasted marshmallow and chocolate bar, which carries over into the wet ground. Breaking the crust brings up aroma of baking butterscotch brownies, with light brown sugar and cinnamon. The cup is nuanced with a nice floral aspect that is reminiscent of the flavor of vanilla caramel. The body is syrupy and carries with it a heaviness in mouthfeel that helps highlight fruited notes like juicing oranges, tamarind, and nectarine. After a few days of post-roast rest, the City+ roast has amazing tactile body, complex layers of sweetness, and hints of sweet spice. Developed roasts have a clean note of hazelnut that melds together with a creamy cocoa flavor, hanging around in the finish. This coffee will shine in the brewer, as well as make an incredible SO espresso.